Swallows accept high bid for Aoki


The Tokyo Yakult Swallows accepted Saturday a Major League Baseball bid on outfielder Norichika Aoki, who had been posted for auction, team president Tsuyoshi Kinugasa said.

Kinugasa indicated that the bid was $2.5 million (around ¥200 million).

After Friday’s 5 p.m. EST deadline, MLB said Aoki received at least one bid through the posting system but without specifying the club or the amount in accordance with its regulations.

The winning MLB club will have 30 days of exclusive negotiating rights to strike a deal with Aoki after Yakult communicates its reply.

Three-time batting title winner Aoki will turn 30 in January. His career batting average is .329 over eight seasons, all with the Swallows.

Aoki is the only player in Japanese baseball history to have had two 200-hit seasons. He reached 500 career hits in 373 games, 30 fewer than Ichiro Suzuki.

In 2011, Aoki batted .292 with four home runs and 44 RBIs in 144 games.